We have taken 6 cruises with Carnival and have always gotten the military rate. We were wondering if we would get an upgrade faster if we booked past guest. On our last cruise people at our table booked 2 weeks before the cruise, paid less then we did with the military price, and got on the empress deck with ocean view. What are yalls thoughts on this.
Did you check the rates after you booked your cruise? Rates change; sometimes they go higher, and sometimes lower. You should get a credit if the rates change lower, but you have to call your travel agent or the cruise line. It's too late after you board the ship. A good travel agent would alert you if there is a lower price. It's happen to me a few times.
I will never understand why people think they have to go on a cruise and discuss what they paid for a cruise in the first place. There is no need for it. Usually these people are trying to impress you, and most likely aren't giving you the complete bottom line. Usually the military rate and resident specials are the very lowest. However; it is hard to say when you booked whether to get that rate it was an assigned cabin. An assigned cabin most likely isn't going to get changed. There are special promotions for an open cabin assignment called "Guarantee". These are usually the cabins that get upgraded. They book at the lowest rate for that category in hopes of getting upgraded. They may, or maynot, and they also take the chance on ship location. It could be all the way forward, aft, or midship. In my opinion there are too many booking codes, and special promotions. It gets too confusing and I wish the cruise lines would stream line the fares more. As Sonny V says, prices can go down after you book. Always ask before you make final payment if the rate has gone down. Don't obsess over what someone else tells you they paid. I don't believe them most of the time anyway. All segments of the travel industy operate on yield management. You will find this with cruises, air tickets, hotels, and car rentals.
I never discuss what I paid for a cruise with my tablemates, and thankfully we've never had them do it either. But if it ever happens I think I might say "well, we paid brochure rate just because we can." Of course that is not at all true but I'd like to see their expression!
I tend to agree with the others that most of the time when someone is bragging about the rate they paid for a cruise,they will tend to bend the truth a bit or not give you the whole price including port fees and taxes, so you hear a rate and think they did great when in fact they didn't do too much better than you did.
But, having said that, I notice you didn't really get an answer to your question- "If we didn't pay the military rate would we have a better chance at being upgraded" Ok, maybe that wasn't your exact wording but that is how I read it. The answer is probably. I imagine that CCL would upgrade the highest paying customers first. Meaning that you pay the Military rate to get the cheapest fare to begin with. CCL will upgrade those that paid "full fare" before they upgrade those that are sailing at the cheapest rates. That's only business.
You need to ask yourself what is more important- a chance at an upgrade (which may not be a great chance or even a great upgrade), paying the cheapest fare you can, or the cabin you are sailing in. As pointed out, you could go "past guest" and book a TBA cabin which will give you the cheapest price for that category cabin with the chance at being upgraded. But in reality, they don't often upgrade you beyond the category you booked in for your TBA. We normally book a TBA cabin at the lowest category we would be happy in. Say an oceanview on a given deck (I don't like the main or riviera deck). We have always been "upgraded" to a good cabin in that category and have also been upgraded to a balcony once. But, we have never been dissapointed in the cabin either.
If you absolutely have to have that balcony cabin, you have to pay for it. At the very least buy a balcony TBA cabin and toss your fate to the winds. Sometimes you can get a balcony cabin at a ocean view price using TBA (albeit sometimes a partially blocked view)
You can also ask if you can get a discount on a better cabin with the military rate, but don't ask to use the military rate for the cheapest booking as that is what you will get.
And remember - most upgrades are to a same size cabin on a different deck. A 6A is a 6B is a 6C, etc. Not much of an upgrade in my opinion. Jim is quite right - if you want a balcony you are best off by booking one.
Jim is correct but there is a wrinkle to the promos. Military promos are assigned cabin promos, they can't be booked as Guar. status. Past Pax promos frequently have free automatic upgrades unlike the Guar status that have a chance of upgrade, many of the past pax promos get the upgrade (normally 2 categories higher with some limitations) at the time of booking, and are also assigned at the time. Guar. status promos are random, unassigned and can often be upgraded but with no assurance that will happen. There are also 55+ and other options often out there. None of these various promotions are combinable. Typically the military rates are lower than any other promo. But sometime the past pax promo although higher cost may be the more attractive option because of the upgrade. I tend to agree with Cruise Fanatic that there are far to many promotions and streamlining the process would help. Right now they are also promoting regional promos as well, hence all the questions when you call for rates. Where do you live? Are you 55+? Current of former military? Have you sailed with CCL before? and it goes on and on trying to find each client the best rate among a vast sea of promotion choices. It creates a higher possibility of human error coming in and an agent either not finding the lowest or simply choosing one that may not be the best possible option for the client. With dozens of rates and promos there are countless options. Most agents (cruiseline and outside agents) short-cut the process by just finding the lowest rate to quote and not even bothering to consider all the other options that may be even more attractive but higher cost.